Posted in Autism

What am I feeling?

Recently, I have started to watch “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”. It is a show about a girl who undergoes a MRI treatment which gives her this new ability to hear other people’s “heart songs”. I know, it is such a weird concept, but I have got really into it and am already halfway through the 2nd season, and I think it got cancelled so I am going to be finished soon. But, something the show made me think about is, what song would my heart sing in certain situations?

I don’t know. When I have stopped and tried to answer this question, I can’t think of any songs. Because, like Zoey before the magical MRI machine, I am not super into music. I also have some trouble identifying my emotions. The word for people who have difficulty recognizing, identifying, and expressing what emotion they are feeling is Alexithymia. Many autistic people have Alexithymia. For me, it is not that I can not tell emotions at all. Though I have found I have difficulty to describe emotions. I think I feel emotions so deeply, it is hard to find the words to describe them. If I could find the right song to describe my emotions, that would be cool. If I could know what someone else was feeling by knowing what song most related to that feeling, that would be interesting. Though, also disruptive if it suddenly happened and overwhelming.

What I might try to do as a little project, I might start a new playlist and keep my eyes out for songs that express ways that I feel. It is one of my favourite things about music, how music can express emotion in a way that words can sometimes lack on their own. We’ll see how this goes because I have a few projects that I want to do and seems I do not have enough time or motivation or energy to do them all.

Posted in Autism, Friendship

Some more thoughts on friendships

So I talk a lot about friendships and my experience with them. I struggle with friendships, like many other autistic and even non autistic people. Something that I wanted to talk about is boundaries, especially in regards to friendships and some friendships that are prone to drama. I think I am usually good at avoiding drama. But then occasionally I find myself caught in the middle of drama. In new friendships, I tend to go along with what others say and minimize my own needs and wants. This can lead me to burnout, especially when I find out how demanding the friend is emotionally. I do not want to blame the friend, because they have their own struggles and it is not their fault that I did not set good boundaries from the start. Though this ends up with problems when I reach my limit and have to pull away from the friendship.

One thing that I have decided to be firm on is to not to let others opinions make me hate someone else, without good reason. I do not want to spend my energy on hating anyone. I do not care to hold grudges. Holding grudges feels awful to me. One thing I have learned is that I need friends who let each other explore life at their pace, and grow together even when we grow apart. I also know there are friends for every season. As well, I know that with all the people I have counted on as friends at some point, I could reach out and talk to them and find that familiarity again, if only for a moment. It is so hard to reach out though, I think about it but then I can’t get past asking ” hi how are you?” and responding ” ah, good thank you, how are you?” Lately, I do not know what to talk about with friends. Though that’s why I like the idea of social media, where we can post things about our day and respond to them. But then, I get nervous to post on social media. I want to share my voice, my opinions, my hopes, my feelings, my thoughts with the world, with family and friends, but I also do not want the attention on me. I worry about revealing too much of my inner world with people. I worry about scaring people off. Sometimes, I am just waiting for someone else to share something I relate to so I can comment on it.

Friendships are hard. It is difficult for me to have a really close friend besides my husband and my mom, and friends and family I have known for a long time, so I am more comfortable sharing parts of my inner world with them. I have been enjoying running an Instagram for my plush bear, as it has helped me be social without the attention on me. I want to continue and even try to share more, with the help of my plush babies.

Thank you for reading. I find blogging to be my favourite way of getting some longer thoughts out into the world. At least for now.

Posted in Autism, Enneagram


A couple days ago, I turned 32. I want to use this space to reflect back on the past year and look forward to a new year of life. Without much thinking, it feels like not much happened in the past year because I was at the same job, married to the same husband, and have no kids yet. Though, there are actually a lot of things that happened when I think a little deeper.

In the past year, I have learned a lot about myself! Earlier in 2022, I started learning about the enneagram thanks initially to my cousin sharing about it. Learning about the enneagram has helped me not only understand myself better but have more understanding about other people. While it is recommended not to type other people, I have found it useful to spend some time thinking about what type someone might be, especially when I find something they say baffling. It is helpful to realize they are using a different ‘mask’ to go through life, they have different core motivations and fears that are usually a result of their early childhood experiences. Learning about the enneagram has helped me identify more of the ways I have masked my autistic traits.

Initially when I read about autism and my enneagram type, type 9, I had some concern that maybe I was not autistic, maybe everything about me could be explained by enneagram! But after more research and time to process, I have realized no, I am still autistic. Through the enneagram, I have been able to identify the ways I mask and why in masked in that way.

I have a tendency to try to ‘fly under the radar’ and escape detection from others. From an enneagram viewpoint, I am doing this because I do not want to cause conflict. I do not want people to see me as weird or stupid. I want people to like me and see me as a good person. And the reasons I want people to like me and see me as a good person is that I don’t want that conflict with that person, I do not want them to leave me. I realize that I may have developed this trait because I knew I was different and possibly did or would stand out if I was myself. I also did not know the rules other people held so I would observe and make up the rules based on what I observed and the rules that I heard. Observing people to figure out the rules would help me to fit in with them and not appear weird. Though it also would lead to exhaustion as it takes a lot of effort to follow so many rules and exhaustion because I was often ignoring my body’s needs or maybe not even realizing my body’s needs until I hit that point of exhaustion or burnout.

This past year I have also been working with myself, with some inspiration from Instagram and the internet, to figure out how to listen to my body and figure out movements and activities that help calm me down from a place of stress. Going forward into another year, I hope to get even better at understanding my body response and how to regulate my stress and energy levels and anxiety. I hope to better understand how I masked autistic traits as a young child or teenager or even adult still to this day, and how I might be able to unmask safely.

Another very interesting fact about this time of life… I have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder for half my life! I was diagnosed around the age of 16. Though back in 2006, there was far less out there about autism and especially autism in females. There are so many more people sharing their experiences of being on the autism spectrum these days, and it seems more people getting diagnosed, especially at an older age. Sometimes, I still get imposter syndrome, worried I do not really fit in with the autism community and also falling back on feeling that I should mask my traits because I need to appear more “normal” to other people. Though I am better when I can just own up to my weird ness, my unique personality, autistic traits, and everything that makes me up as a person. It is just so hard, masking can be like a security blanket which is hard to separate from. Even though this mask or security blanket, it is not perfect and has holes in it… because I can not mask everything.

I’m a work in progress.

Thanks for reading.


Posted in Autism, Enneagram, Friendship

Chatting all day every day is exhausting – I think I figured out why (in my case, at least)

I am not someone who needs to talk every day. I prefer friendships where we can communicate in little ways here and there and not talk every day. There have been two main friendships which I ended up talking hours each day with the person. This ended up exhausting me and I burnt out from the chatting and I had to set boundaries and it probably made the other person feel like I did not care but that’s not the case. I just burnt out and could not maintain the level of chatting.

With the understanding of the enneagram, I believe I am a type 9, I have found some further explanation for WHY I burn out with excessive chatting. When I am chatting with someone, I am putting their needs and interests first, especially in new friendships. I am slow to reveal my own needs and wary to bring up my own opinions in case they clash with theirs. I push off things I need to do or want to do, because I can do them later. But then when the chatting goes so long, I get restless and don’t know why. Often, I realize I am really thirsty and can not understand why. Though upon reflection, I realize I have not had a chance to drink anything. Focusing on another person’s needs and interests, means that I am less aware of my own needs and interests.

Oh, I think the way I react is also affected by being autistic. I realize I may have some difficulties with interoception – understanding the sensations in my body and what they mean. I believe much of what I learn about the enneagram helps me understand the ways I am autistic and how I learned to mask that autism.

I need time away from chatting, time by myself, so that I can process all the information, so I can prioritize tasks, so I can manage my energy. When I chat with new people, I tend to prioritize them and what they talk about, because I do not really want to talk about my own stuff as much. There have been times I have revealed personal information and people look at me strange. Plus I have a weird way of talking sometimes. I tend not to be very confident when talking out loud. I can chat easier through chat, but I do not care for instant messaging as much. I prefer email messages and writing on blogs over instant messaging or chat. There is too much pressure to reply back right away in chat.

Going forward, I believe I need to work on being more true to myself early in a friendship, opening up a bit more about my needs and interests and not be afraid to cut the conversation short when I need to do something. If I can set boundaries earlier as I need them, they won’t come as such a shock later. It can be so hard for me to set boundaries because I worry about the other person not liking me. But if someone does not like me because I set a boundary on my time, a boundary that I need for my own health, that is something that is their problem, not mine. Though the boundaries can change over time, it takes time to figure out what works for both people. Friendships are difficult and exhausting, but very valuable to have. Friendships seem to be one of the areas I struggle with the most. And because everyone is different, each friendship is also different. And that’s a blog idea for another day – the idea of each friendship and relationship being unique. And the idea that no one can replace you.

Posted in Autism, Enneagram, Friendship


On my self-discovery journey, and my study of the enneagram, I have realized I have a “talent” for merging with others. Though this is also similar to a common autistic trait, particularly with females: “camouflaging.” I learned other’s behaviors and copied them to blend in. This is something I’ve done all my life and it appears as something common in autism and in enneagram type 9s, but for different reasons. I relate to both reasonings. In terms of autism, I mask or camouflage certain autistic traits and things that make me stand out and take on traits of people around me or I observe on TV, because I want to fit in and because I otherwise don’t know how to react in a situation. But in terms of enneagram, I merge with other’s opinions and behaviors because they seem good to me too and I don’t want to risk conflict or losing their friendship by saying something that could be potentially controversial.

With people I do not know well, I tend to be very skilled at observing them and end up mimicking their behaviors, almost by default. Though, as I get to know people better, I reveal more information, usually only after they’ve revealed similar information or we are close enough that I feel they will accept me for me and my quirky ways even if they don’t agree with me.

Since I am so good at merging with other people, I tend to end up with separate senses of self. I am a certain way with family vs. friends vs. work colleagues. And to some degree, this is normal. But I feel like the only way to true peace, I need to work to be a more united version of myself. I want to be able to express enough of my personality at work while still being a professional version of that person. I want to be able to share the inner workings of my mind with friends but still having fun with them and listening to them and understanding them. I want to share more of my growth with my family while still being easy going and the person they knew all along. I feel badly sometimes, because I feel like I’m not always 100% honest with people. Don’t get me wrong, I rarely outright lie to people, but I am more likely to withhold information if I feel like it will upset the balance or cause conflict or cause someone not to like me or to think less of me.

As I have gotten older, I have a stronger sense of self but I still find myself wanting to merge with other people’s opinions at times, especially in new friendships. Though, this has lead me to having to establish boundaries later on, when I realize I can not keep up the mask. For example, I usually burn out and can’t maintain the level of socialization that I had initially been able to handle.

Another related thought, I have discovered that I am not a fan of instant messaging. This is a somewhat new realization for me, because I can enjoy instant messaging for short periods of time but prolonged chatting can drain me… until I set boundaries that allow me to exit a conversation to attend to my own needs. Because that is what has happened to me in the past, I delayed attending to my own needs because a long distance partner or friend was chatting to me and sometimes they were going through a rough time which made my issues of needing to eat or clean the house or spend time offline seem less important. But I have learned that my presence matters, my opinions matter, my needs matter. Therefore, I need to take time to care for myself and attend to my needs and do things I want to do, so I can be a better me, a better friend, and a better human being.

Posted in Anxiety, Autism, Christianity and Faith, Enneagram

My autism diagnosis and other things.

I was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in 2006. I received the diagnosis of “Asperger’s Syndrome” which is now under the combined diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder. I am autistic. It feels so weird for me to say because when I was diagnosed, it was more commonly accepted to say “I have autism” but I am learning to embrace my autistic qualities. I am learning to uncover the traits I have been supressing.

I was an extremely quiet child. People described me as shy, though as I got older I realized it was not that I was shy. I think I was quiet because I processed information slower. I think my brain might process more sensory information so it can take longer to formulate the right response. Often when I am speaking about things that I have not rehearsed, my speech can be all over the place and chaotic, uncoordinated. I prefer typing or writing over talking a lot of the time. Though even with typing, I have trouble putting my thoughts down in a coherent way. Thankfully with typing, I can go back and edit my words and I can save things as a draft if I need to.

Along with autism, I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder – “generalized anxiety disorder” (GAD). I have always struggled with anxious feelings and often I do not know where the anxiety is coming from. I have started experimenting with certain “stimming” behaviors which have helped to reduce some anxiety or distract my brain from the anxiety. I’ve been experimenting with new stimming behaviors as well as identifying behaviors I was doing already but now realizing how they can be used to reduce anxiety sometimes. Some of these behaviors I have been doing to help reduce anxiety are: wiggling my toes and other movements with my feet, deep breathing, drawing simple pictures or writing random words, playing or cuddling my soft toys and dolls. I also like to pray and find focusing on my faith in God can help reduce the anxiety I experience.

Another diagnosis I received alongside autism and GAD was dysthymic disorder or dysthymia, which is a persistent depressive disorder, generally milder than clinical depression but it persists which can be frustrating. I still get some mild, yet stubborn, depression from time to time and then other times I can be extremely positive and happy. It’s strange. Sometimes it feels like a different person when I look back at those times.

I was also diagnosed with a mild language use issue because my speech can be awkward at times. I think maybe I did not get as much practice with it when I was younger because I was so quiet. Now, I think it may have more to do with slower processing of thoughts to speech so it comes around more awkward at times.

As I have been re-discovering myself, at times it feels more freeing and and other times I feel more uncomfortable, as I face my issues head on. I believe this is a big part of my growth story, but I have to experience discomfort to grow and mature. I have also been studying the enneagram a lot and learning more about the type 9 enneagram which I believe I am, I realize how my motivations and fears have worked with the struggles I have with autism. I mask my eccentricities because I want peace with those around me. I don’t want to be the reason for any conflict. Though recently, I have realized that sometimes this creates artificial peace and I am working on moving through some conflicts to uncover my true emotions and feelings and praying for wisdom for what I can do to bring about complete peace, at least in some small ways for now.

Posted in Autism

As We See It – New show on Prime Video

I recently finished watching the first season of “As We See It,” a new show on Amazon’s Prime video featuring three young adult roommates on the autistic spectrum! I really enjoyed it. I really wanted to write about it.

While I did not identify strongly with the characters, I enjoyed the diversity of the cast. It really helps portray struggles that young adults with autism may face as they face additional challenges to becoming independent adults! I also am so excited when I learned that the main characters are also played by autistic adults and many others on the cast and crew are autistic. As an autistic woman, this made me so excited to see. I am always so happy to see portrayal of women on the spectrum, even though the autistic lady in the series is more outgoing than me. I really enjoyed her portrayal, her romanticizing of relationships is something I can identify with. And she worked at Arby’s when I worked at fast food restaurants too. Though as a more quiet woman with autism, I did not have the emotional outbursts she had and was able to maintain a job there for longer.

My masking skills have been decent, but not perfect, though I grew up with an understanding that weird was good. But I still felt I had to mask, in particular at school and later at work. I would not have been able to mask all day so I usually let loose at home a lot more. And when I got my diagnosis at around age 16, I still did not really understand and a lot of the information out there was about learning skills to fit into society, and I did not really understand that I had different sensory needs than other people.

As I have gotten older, I have actually realized more of the things that make me autistic. I guess we just get to know ourselves better as we get older. It reminds me of when I was 18 or 19 and I had an email exchange with a friend with autism who was around 10 years older than me, and he told me how it got better when he got older. And I think I agree. I definitely feel like I have a better sense of self these days, though there are also more things I am responsible for now! And with the whole pandemic thing on top of normal getting older stuff, I feel more exhausted more often!

Back to the show I started talking about at the beginning of this post… If you want to check out this new show please see the link below or search for “As we see it” on Amazon Prime video! Please leave a comment if you have watched it and what you think of it or if you relate to any of the characters. I hope there is a season 2 for sure, I am so excited to see where they take this series!

Posted in Anxiety, Autism

Everyone struggles

One thought that has been on my mind recently is the idea that everyone struggles. Actually, this thought comes to my mind often, keeps me humble and keeps me quiet about my own struggles. When I am about to mention my struggles, I try to remember that everyone struggles with certain things. Also, I do not want people to limit what I can do. So I want to keep trying to overcome my difficulties in secret. Though I think a lot of people are like this… we all have our internal struggles, our things that we are overcoming, which are not apparent on the outside. Even more so for those of us with an invisible disability like autism. Though we can never know how much someone struggles with a task and does not admit to. So it is difficult to ask for help for things if we think everyone struggles with. On one hand, I want to talk about sensory difficulties or my inability to make decisions or my overwhelming crushing anxiety or depressive feelings, but then I stop myself… because discussing my own issues can come across selfish and also makes me feel vulnerable. I would rather people think I can handle it. I want to portray someone who has everything under control. That is one of my masks. Hiding my vulnerabilities and difficulties to appear in control. Not asking for help too much. I don’t want others to think of me as a burden or less capable. I think most people have this to an extent. Not everyone has the same difficulties but I can’t really truly know what other people struggle with. Everyone struggles sometimes. It is good to remember that so we can try our best to be understanding in every situation.

Posted in Autism

I am autistic but my desire to blend in holds me back from being an autism self advocate

Lately, the idea has been growing stronger and stronger on my mind… the idea that I want to share my personal experiences as a woman with autism spectrum disorder. I see people around me, on social media, sharing their experiences being on the spectrum. There is SO MUCH MORE knowledge about how autism presents in women nowadays. So much more than when I was first diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome back in 2006. Asperger’s Syndrome was on the Autism Spectrum, and now after new DSM diagnostic criteria was released recently, all diagnoses of Asperger’s Syndrome are simply Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD.

One issue I struggle with is the terminology. Recently, there has been a switch in how people refer to autistic people or is it people with autism. So I understand why autistic people is preferred now because Autism is so linked with our identity and is not a disease or something that needs to be cured. However, I have been struggling with identifying as an autistic person. Because for so many years, I have been trying to fit in with those around me.

I also find it difficult to make a fuss. I talk myself down from self identifying to people, because I do not want them to see me differently… and even more so, I do not want them to see me as incapable of tasks because of Autism. I feel very vulnerable of my autistic traits and so I have learned to hide them. Though, these days, I am trying to “unmask” and slowly re-discover the traits that I have been trying to hide. Because I realized one day, I can not hide everything, and my masking and hiding of traits, it was causing me problems in my life.

I want to start to use this blog to discuss the autistic traits I see in myself, how I have coped with these traits, I want to reflect on how successful the coping strategies have been, and make a plan going forward if I should try something different that may be more helpful.

Posted in Anxiety, Autism, Friendship

My experience with friendship

The topic of friendship has been on my mind a lot lately. Early last year, I made a new friend. We got really close. We bonded over our love of plushies, and soon learned we had other things in common, such as having anxiety, autism, and our Christian faith. She is a very valuable part of my life. We started chatting nearly every day, with breaks in between. I enjoyed it. Though the past little while, I have been become to feel very exhausted with the constant chatting. As much as I still enjoyed it, it started to interfere with other things I needed to get done. I begun to feel overwhelmed with everything. Especially with the addition of family traumas and illnesses and general covid-19 exhaustion.

This has caused me to take a step back from the friendship. We are still friends but I have taken a step back from feeling like I need to say hi every day. I just let the message sit there until I have the mental and emotional energy to invest in taking the time to read it and respond to it.

This has allowed me time to think about and compare this to past moments of friendship in my life. When I was younger, I did not have many friends. I grew up the middle child of three girls, all relatively close in age, so they were like built in friends even though we also got on each others nerves a lot growing up. There were times that I felt like they were spending time without me. I think those times were times I most noticed how different I was, even though I did not yet know about autism.

In early elementary school, I kind of thought of all the girls in my class being my friend. In particular, certain girls. Or really any girl who would talk to me nicely. I had a friend in kindergarten and grade 1 who I knew from pre-school. As I got older, more girls would include me or try to include me in their games or activities at lunch and recess time. I did not really understand the rules of socializing and did not approach other girls myself, so I would walk around the school by myself if they did not approach me.

As I got older in grade 5 and 6, I had more of a defined group of friends and also soon learned that not all the girls in my grade got along with each other, and I had to pick a side. I could not just be friends with anyone who was “nice” to me. Though, maybe they were just playing nice to me. I could not really tell. I got my first official “best friend” in grade 6. We would hang out with each other all the time, doing crafts, and going for walks, playing with our gerbils…. It was nice.

Though, I usually felt I had to hide parts of myself when around friends. Until I felt like they would accept that part of me, I did not want to risk being vulnerable around them. When I got to grade 7, I met new friends and reconnected with some old ones at my new school. In high school, I started to get more comfortable having my own interests. Although, I still got nervous to share my new interests with others until I learned they liked them too. I had an amazing group of friends in high school, I felt I could be myself around them for the most part. Though there was a time when I started to feel like I wanted to share more of myself but nervous how they would take it. The biggest part of myself that I wanted to share but that I was nervous to share was when I got my autism diagnosis (Asperger’s Syndrome, in addition to Generalized anxiety disorder, Dysthymia and a mild language use disorder). I eventually blurted it out to them… though I do not know if they remember it as I do not talk about it much. I still count them as friends today even though we see each other maybe once a year, and now that two of them are moved further away, it may be even less than that going forward.

Friendship is so difficult for me. I have not developed good boundaries when it comes to friends. I tend to listen listen listen to friends and not say my own things because I am nervous how they will take it. There are times I have shared vulnerabilities and later feel very anxious because I revealed too much about myself. Even if they were very supportive of what I said, I might still feel like I revealed too much. But in particular, if I find they may not have understood me completely.

My preferred method of saying things is through the written word so I can express my whole thought. I like having time to think of what I am going to say.. which is why instant messaging type of chatting is difficult for me. I need time to think of what I will say and sometimes I need to give it a day to rest before responding again. I am still learning about myself and what works for me. Life is a journey of constantly re-evaluating what works for me and others. I want to be an advocate for autism but also am nervous about being too vocal about my diagnosis. I want to inspire others but also do not want all the attention.

In other news… we got much needed rain today!! After one of the hottest summers, we got our first major heat wave back in late June and July was super dry, barely any rain, and now we got much needed rain and the temperature is less than 20 degrees Celsius! WOOHOO!!! Praise God!

That’s all for now. Have a great day. – Heather